Publishing Disruptions at Mobility Shifts

by Lily Antflick

This past Friday, I was pleased to attend the panel discussion entitled ‘Publishing Disruptions: Extra-Institutional Publishing Tools’ which was conducted as part of the Mobility Shifts Conference. The panel was moderated by Morgan Currie, of the Institute of Network Cultures and included, Sam Gould of Publication Studio, Amanda Hickman of Document Cloud, Michael Mandiberg of Floss Manuals and Simon Worthington from Mute Magazine.

Each member of the panel presented their individual domains and organizations which share similar philosophies in regard to open-access and publishing as a social practice.
The panel introduced multiple newly-invented platforms for authors who are interested in publishing outside of traditional academic infrastructures, demonstrating that the act publishing can also be seen as a critique of existing institutions and copyright licensing.

Michael Mandiberg discussed Floss Manuals, a collection of manuals about free and open source software, encouraging open-source publishing as a technical and social practice.
Mandiberg discusses Collaborative Futures, a book which he worked on that was created during a ‘Booksprint’ (where many contributors come together for a few days and collaborate on a book.) Floss Manuals has a ‘remix’ option where the public can actually change/add to a book once it is formed. Mandiberg sees the hard copy as an artifact of the digital version which is constantly changing. This problematizes the notion of the book as a fixed entity by encouraging constant feedback, editing and alterations. Here, the book can never really be seen as a finished product, but rather, a malleable object which the public can engage with and adapt.

Sam Gould discussed Publication Studio, a Portland-based laboratory for publication which prints and binds books on demand. The most pertinent message of Gould’s address was his explanation of how PS does so much more than merely the production of books, but more importantly is concerned with the creation of a public. Through a consortium of studios, commissions, artists, authors, etc., PS creates a space for public collaboration. Publication Studio thus offers an expanded notion of what publication can mean, book publishing here is a social act which agitates for dialogue and as a result, forms a public around it.

Both of these speakers’ initiatives complicate traditional academic infrastructures by introducing alternative modes of publishing and collaborative pedagogy. This is central to the DIY ethic which proposes the creation of a new discourse, fracturing authority and encouraging openness, public interaction and individual agency.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: